DT 27081 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27081

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27081

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a cold, frosty and snow-covered South Staffs, where the early morning sun and blue sky suggest that today at least I may be spared snow clearance duties.

I found the top half of today’s puzzle trickier than the bottom, and it took some time for the answer to 1a to emerge,  hence my *** rating.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Able to see clearly live show’s heading for disaster? (12)
{ BESPECTACLED } A charade of a verb meaning ‘to live’, a theatrical show, and the first letter (heading) of D isaster, giving us the outcome for those who did go to Specsavers.

9a           Hot movie creator revealing arrogance (7)
{ HAUTEUR }  The abbreviation for H ot followed by the posh word for someone who makes films that nobody watches.

10a         Harry’s dead spoilt (7)
{ RAVAGED } A verb meaning harry or pillage followed by D ead.

11a         TV channel? (4)
{ TUBE } Double definition.  An informal word for TV and a way of moving liquids around.

12a         Neck, lip or elsewhere (5)
{ CHEEK } The answer is a body part (elsewhere by reference to neck and lip.  Neck, lip and the answer are also examples of informal words for insolence.

13a         Some louche rock’n’roll idol (4)
{ HERO }  Hidden inside (some) the clue.

16a         Arm below the wrist? (7)
{ HANDGUN } A firearm suggested by the bit of the arm below the wrist.

17a         Idly pet mongrel without enthusiasm (7)
{ TEPIDLY }Anagram (mongrel) of IDLY PET.

18a         No more pot? This looks serious (7)
{ DEADPAN } ‘No more’, as in ‘this parrot is…’ followed by a synonym of pot.

21a         Compile unusually hostile argument (7)
{ POLEMIC } Anagram (unusually) of COMPILE.

23a         Criticise  swimmer (4)
{ CARP } Double definition.

24a         Picture that is cover for colour supplement (5)
{ IMAGE } The Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ wrapped around (cover) an abbreviation of the sort of publication that a colour supplement is.

25a         Killer or cuddly ape foremost? (4)
{ ORCA } OR (from the clue) followed by the initial letters (foremost) of C uddly A pe.

28a         See 7 Down

29a         Japanese dish with mash is served up across India (7)
{ SASHIMI } Anagram (served up) of MASH IS wrapped around (across) the letter represented by the NATO codeword India.

30a         Backlash from grim visitor wanting a pillow with different filling (12)
{ REPERCUSSION } Remove (wanting) the A from the bony chap with the scythe, than add a sort of pillow with the middle letter (filling) changed from H to S.



1d           French line in whisky (7)
{ BOURBON } Double definition, the first being the French royal house.

2d           Dump in men’s refuge? (4)
{ SHED } Another double definition, the first being a verb.

3d           Clear the new site of clay (7)
{ EARTHEN } Hidden inside (site of)  Cl ear the n ew.

4d           Wrong keeping troops in distress (7)
{ TORMENT }  The legal term for a civil wrong with one of the synonyms for troops inside (keeping).

5d           No end of witches gathering in cavern (4)
{ COVE } Drop the final N from the word for a witches’ gathering.  The definition is not a meaning of the answer that I was familiar with, but it is in Chambers.

6d           Boffin with scrambled brain? (7)
{ EGGHEAD } Something that might be scrambled for breakfast followed by a synonym for brain.

7d           and 28 Across: The very thing that’s neededcomplete rest? (4,3,6,7)
{ WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED  A sort of all-in-one clue, the whole thing being an example of the answer, the first part also being the definition of the informal phrase that might be uttered on having the first drink of the day.

8d           Icy, sardonic — it could get personal (13)
{ IDIOSYNCRATIC } Anagram (could get) of ICY SARDONIC IT

14d         With mouth wide open a cavity’s visible finally (5)
{ AGAPE } A (from the clue) followed by a word for a cavity and the last letter (finally) of visibl E.

15d         Flour is spelled differently (5)
{ SPELT } An alternative version (differently) of the past tense of ‘spell’ has the same spelling as what Chambers gives as a variety of wheat rather than the flour made from it.

19d         Contract for amateur game (7)
{ ABRIDGE } A verb meaning to shorten is made up from A mateur and a card game.

20d         Alternative comedian lacking energy and rambling (7)
{ NOMADIC } Anagram (alternative) of COM(E)DIAN with the E removed (lacking Energy).

21d         Pressure’s on wild guess about a legendary creature (7)
{ PEGASUS } Bellerophon’s winged steed comes from P ressure followed by an anagram (wild) of GUESS with A (from the clue) inside it.

22d         Finish off tamarind paste that’s out of this world (7)
{ MARTIAN } Anagram (paste) of TAMARIN(D) with the final D removed (finish off).

26d         East Berlin oddly in the forefront for cheese (4)
{ BRIE } Take the odd-numbered letters of B e r l i n and put them before (in the forefront) the abbreviation for E ast. That’s two Tuesdays in succession that this cheese has appeared. I hope Brian likes the clue better this week!

27d         Bubbly and endlessly on the go (4)
{ ASTI } The usual crosswordland fizzy wine comes from removing (endlessly) the final R from a word meaning ‘up and about’.

The Quick Crossword pun { BUST }{ TURK }{ EATEN } = { BUSTER KEATON }

90 comments on “DT 27081

  1. Found this difficult but managed without hints – thank you for your review DT and setter. Some satisfaction in finishing but not hugely enjoyable !

    21a would have been a pushover for one of your late contributors yesterday !

  2. 3*/3* for me as well. It took me a little while to get 7d, which slowed me down somewhat.
    Thanks to setter, and to Deep Threat for the notes.

    The toughie gets a thumbs up from me today.

  3. I agree with the comments i.e. the top half was much more difficult than the bottom. 9a was a new word for me which I wouldn’t have got without assistance. Great that snow clearance is also off my agenda today!

  4. Nice little puzzle. Sishami was the last one in. Did anybody notice the trickery at 13ac where the “Some louche rock’n’roll idol” where the hidden word could have been Cher or Hero. I put Cher first and had to alter it. Yesterday at 21ac the clue read “Pine used in making tea chest” The word EACH is hidden there and threw me whilst I tried to make it fit the clue. I could have kicked myself when I spotted ACHE. Could this be a new trend or is it something I have missed previously?

      1. Sorry about that. I was more interested in the doubling up of included or hidden words, a trick I had not seen before.

        1. No, I know what you mean – and whilst I didn’t fall in to the trap yesterday, I did spot the potential pitfall. I doubt if it’s a coincidence, more likely to be deliberate on the part of the setter. I’m not sure it’s fair to lead you to a hidden word, only to have more than one to choose from, either of which in the case of today’s clue would be a perfectly reasonable answer.

          1. I’m not convinced ‘Cher’ is an idol, and if the definition is rock ‘n’roll idol, then surely the last letter of che(R) is also included in the definition part of the clue (if that makes sense?)

            1. Hi Jezza – admittedly it would be read as a kind of all in one clue with the hidden word, but I still think that either Cher or Hero are valid answers. Given the not unusual circumstance of people talking about letters and words doing double duty etc in correct answers on this forum, Cher would certainly not be any more contentious than many others.

              1. Hi Roland – I think if there had been a question mark at the end of the clue, Cher might have been a better answer.

      2. I put ‘sushisi’ in at 29a and looked it up on google, the explaination fitted so I left it, completely ignoring the ‘mash’ part

    1. Yes – I had Cher to begin with too just because it jumped out and bit me. Getting 6d sorted out that mistake.

  5. I’m with you DT – really struggled with the top half. Didn’t help putting in Cher for 13a on the first read through though. I also thought that 1a was quite well hidden, couldn’t get ‘unobstructed’ out of my head. Thanks to setter and DT for the review 3.5*/3.5* for me today. Off out now to brave the weather.

    btw – you’ve annotated the last few of your across clues as down – I often have senior moments like that

    1. I generate the template with a Word macro, and it was fooled into thinking that the down clues had started by the “Down” in the previous clue. Back to the drawing board!

  6. Only ** for us today thanks to a good number of anagrams acting, as it were, as ice breakers. Agree with you, DT, that 1a took a bit of time. Speaking as one thus adorned I wonder whether the clue would have been more accurate if it were ‘Able to see more clearly…’ Not familiar with Japanese cuisine, but the idea was clear enough and a check with Google confirmed suspicions. Thanks to DT and setter.

  7. The online puzzle page from the DT seems to have gone AWOL about 11 am. Any ideas. Just a blank screen

    1. Well I’m glad I’m not the only one to have problems with the online DT today.
      I’m using an iPad and at 1300 have still not been able to get the app to work today! VERY frustrating. Anyone else having similar issues?

        1. Thanks DT – have commented a couple of times.
          Thanks for the great work you do and the excellent tips and hints.

            1. Sorry about that. In my attempts to get DT to work today was resorting to old address. Will now revert to me.com!

  8. It’s back again at 11.17! How mysterious. Just done the quickie, went back for the cryptic, nothing!
    All’s well that ends well.

  9. Enjoyable and straightforward crossword, thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for an entertaining review.

  10. I don’t know why, but I can’t say I really enjoyed this one, it may have something to do with the fact that I wrote the answer to 17A in the place of 18A, grrrr. Having put NERVE in for 12A and CHER in for 13A I can honestly say I buggered it up a tad!
    Only real issue I have is with 1A – surely one who can see clearly is unbespectacled? 5D annoyed me a bit too, thw answer was obvious but with the BRB, I can’t say I’ve heard it used in this context.
    30A Seemed a bit of a contrived clue.

  11. Like Shropshire lad, i put Cher in for 13a-seemed obviously right until i solved 8d. I did struggle to get a meaningful start as i too struggled with 1a and wanted to put ‘just’ for 7d, once in full flow it all became logical,but i still score it 3.5*** and ****. Liked a lot of clues -38a, 18a,12a for starters.Thanks Deep Threat for the pics-loved the Reaper.

  12. 15 d is a new one for me. Agree with the rating but could be nudging nearer to **** for enjoyment. Some good anagrams, all in all good stuff. Thanks to all.

  13. Found the top half harder than the bottom half. Some of the anagrams were well hidden.
    Also fell into the Cher trap. Too many drives though Minehead!
    I’ll give it ***/***

  14. Really enjoyed this puzzle, loads of variety on top of the anagrams which gave a way in.
    Last in 25a, it’s always the four letter clues which cause me the most grief.
    Thanks to DT for the review, and to the setter for an entertaining puzzle.

  15. Thought 1a would have been more appropriate had it been “Enabled” but actually got it fairly readily .Fell into the Cher “trap” as well and took far too long with 7d .
    2.5* / 4* for me .
    Thanks once again

  16. Glad to know I wasn’t alone in putting Cher in to begin with. And like DT hadn’t known 5d as a cavern before. Needed hints today, so very grateful to both setter and DT – thank you. 3/3 for me today.

    1. Naughty corner for you – no cake mid week – only supplied at weekends and when CS is up to making cakes again!
      In case you don’t know why you were censored it’s because giving the time that someone has taken to finish a crossword could be discouraging to other solvers and is therefore discouraged (or even banned!)

  17. Super crossword, thought perhaps a 2* for difficulty as I finished it over breakfast.
    Thx to the setter and to DT for the hints which although I didn’t need today are always appreciated.

  18. I enjoyed this one VERY much – would give it a tiny bit less than 3* for difficulty and at least 4* for enjoyment.
    Fell into the Cher trap and I was slow to get three of the four long answers round the outside – 8d went in quite quickly. I wasn’t very happy about 5d but, as others have said, it’s in the BRB – a cove, to me anyway until now, was a small rocky beach. I wouldn’t have got 9a if we hadn’t had the film maker fairly recently – it was a new word to me then but seems to have stuck in the brain!
    Lots of good clues – all four long ones plus 12 and 21a and 1 and 15d. Spelt flour makes really lovely bread – I use it a lot.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat.

  19. Thoroughly enjoyable and fair romped through it which was a surprise. Some super clues as well. Favourites 1 9 and 30. Never heard the box referred to as the ‘tube’

  20. I know I’m being pedantic, but shouldn’t the clue in 1d call the drink whiskey? i spent some time running through different types of Scotch. Otherwise enjoyable thanks for clues and hints

      1. If I could bother to work out how to put it on here, I’d put a picture of a Jack Daniels bottle which is definitely Whiskey wiv a E

  21. There were some lovely wrong answers just asking to be written in; that’s a fine skill for a setter to have :-)

    I paused when I had nine left to do, and realised that they comprised the entire top third of the grid. Last one in was 2D, penultimate was 1A and favourite was 9A.

    Thanks to setter and Deep Threat (with whose ratings I agree).

  22. Hi DT and thanks for the hints, I enjoyed this puzzle today, as Steve-the-beard (Stb) says there were some good misdirections, I liked 18a and 24a but put ‘sushisi’ in at 29a, after googling it, finding it did exist and felt it had to be right! How disappointing :-) also didn’t know cove was cavern, and didn’t really think of dump and shed being synonymous, once again some nice anagrams to get going

  23. 2*/3.5* for me thanks to setter and DT.

    Hospital visit fairly successful although, just as I can’t see out through the air bubble, they can’t see in to see if the procedure has worked. Apparently the bubble should have gone down enough in two weeks for me to see over the top of it and go back to work :( I am waiting to see before committing myself to returning to the fray – its nice and warm at home and no-one asks you daft questions (well not so much as at work anyway).

    1. Hi sue, it must be really frustrating for you, I really hope it has worked but never mind you have chosen a good time to stay at home :-)

      1. Thanks Mary. Blooming cold wind here this afternoon, much nicer this morning when there was real sunshine and everything looked beautiful.

        1. We’ve had some huge snow flakes falling off and on today but not sticking and it’s stopped now, hopefully we won’t see any more!!

  24. Really starting to enjoy these! Thankfully being an ex chef I got 15d and 29a first so got me started. Still stuck on 7d/28a?

  25. Enjoyed the puzzle today.Luckily I did not even see Cher in 13a so put in hero. New for me was the meaning of neck in 13a. Had never heard it as a synonym for lip but could only see one answer so put it in. Thanks to DT for the explanation. No snow here either as it’s minus 20 centigrade. Too cold to snow!
    Thanks all.

  26. I found this one very difficult and had to use my gizmo early on to get a look in, otherwise I would never have finished. In the end I have to admit to enjoying it. I had to use the hints to know why the answers I put in “because they fit” we’re correct.

  27. Niggle re 3d. Is the definition in the clue not ‘of clay’ rather than just ‘clay’? But if I’m right, not sure the clue works quite as well. Still a ***/*** for me. Thanks to all.

    1. I think you are right about the ‘of clay’ being the definition, but wrong about the clue not working quite as well.

      1. Hmmm the first three words are the site of the definition, but happy if you are CS! I’d certainly be happy if I’d written the clue!

      2. I thought about this when I was writing the blog, and eventually decided that, as Ian says, ‘site of” was a better indicator of the hidden word. And since ‘clay’ works perfectly well as an adjective – clay pot – that’s the way I went. But, as they might say on the BBC, other interpretations are available.

  28. Thanks to the setter & to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Would agree about the top half being harder than the bottom half. Last in was 1a, but I was beaten by 2d, I thought of slew being the past tense of slough, as in a snake sloughing skin, but for some reason didn’t think of shedding, doh! A bit of a tenuous connection. A new word in auteur, but had heard of hauteur. No particular favourites, the whole thing seemed a bit dry, but was quite enjoyable to try. So 3*/2* for me. Big thaw in Central London today, wonder if there is more snow on the way?

    1. Auteur was in a crossword fairly recently and was a new word for me then – somehow it stuck in my brain so was hauled out and used again today.

  29. 1a was the last one in for us. We had started off there and gone right around the puzzle before coming back to it when it became very obvious with all the checking letters. Took us about 2* time and 3* for fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  30. Enjoyed……..didn’t fall into the Cher trap, never even noticed her!
    Quick Crossword made me smile 18d online reads ‘Socially inept person’ and online ‘Trainspotter’ . Is there some political correctness going on here?

  31. All went well, until last in, 9a.
    Got its first letter (obviously) then realized it could only be, as the complete word, a certain word which it was but had never heard of the word which followed its first letter.
    So, I’ve learnt a new six letter word.
    Great puzzle.
    Many thanks setter and Deep Threat.

      1. In that case many of us today do have great minds. I’d be interested to know if BD or gazza fell into the ‘Cher’ trap. SC has already admitted to it.

        1. A bit difficult for me as I had already cracked the (obvious) anagram at 8 down. Otherwise I might well have fallen into the same trap.

          1. Oh good! I start with the across clues and put in anything that’s obvious (ie Cher) and it’s only when I go through the down clues that I realise something has clearly gone a bit wrong because 6d just wasn’t going to work!

        2. I never even noticed ‘Cher’ until I read the comments – I already had ‘egghead’ written in.

        3. I think all this has to be to do with the order we do the clues. Anyone who already had 8d, like BD, or 6d, like gazza didn’t notice ‘Cher’.
          I also think that it’s time I shut up now, and went to bed!

  32. Did not help spelling 3d wrong! Consequently failed to get 12a. 9a is new to me. Also put “Cher” for 13a before realising my error. “Cher” is an old favourite of course. Thanks to the Setter etc..

  33. As usual I seem to be the opposite to most people. Spelt went in first,I didn’t see Cher, so I didn’t make that mistake, and 9a went in fine. It was a very slow start but eventually gathered momentum.I didn’t get1a or 8d, (bad spellers can’t do really long anagrams). Favourate 7a.I hope my improvement curve has the same slope as Brian.
    Hard as I tried , I could not squish any of the names of scotch that I know, Lapharoig etc., into 1d.thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  34. I’m facing retirement and am determined to crack cryptic crosswords. Your hints allowed me to complete my first crossword. I’m so grateful (and smug)!

    1. Welcome from me too, George Jacob. Keep reading this blog and you will progress really fast. I’m glad that you feel smug – so you should.
      If or when you don’t understand something all you need to do is ask – everyone here is really friendly, helpful and non-judgemental. This bit of advice is particularly useful at weekends when no answers are given within the curly brackets because they are prize puzzles – if you can’t do something just ask for help – you will get a response (or lots of responses) within minutes.
      Keep going, and good luck.

        1. I think those of us who fell into the ‘Cher’ trap far outnumber those who didn’t. Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and another crossword.

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